The National Association for the Support of Long Term Care (NASL) Executive Vice President Cynthia Morton and Director of Policy and Membership Donna Doneski recently presented a 2022 industry outlook webinar, discussing the big issues impacting long-term care now and in the future.
To kick off the webinar, we asked polled attendees about their greatest concerns as they enter 2022. Overwhelmingly, workforce shortage (69%) came in at number one, followed by reimbursement rates (17%), consumer confidence (7%), value-based purchasing contracts (5%) and vaccine mandates (2%).
Nursing homes have lost 234,000 jobs
“In the nursing home segment, we are very low in terms of our workforce … we’ve lost 234,000 jobs in the nursing home sector alone [as of Nov. 2021],” stated Morton (6:28). The assisted living sector has lost 39,000 jobs.
During the webinar, Morton spoke about the current environment as it relates to staffing, occupancy levels and vaccine updates. One big question is if the government will extend the Public Health Emergency and continue to allow more flexibilities for providers to treat patients (11:35). [Update: Since the webinar, the Public Health Emergency has been extended to April 16, 2022.]
Payment updates for post-acute care providers
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) gave payment increases to the following settings:
Another area Morton addressed is how CMS will recalibrate the new SNF Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) to achieve parity with prior year spending. “That is the 10,000-dollar question,” Morton said. CMS is considering a 5% payment cut to skilled nursing facility (SNF) operators to remain budget neutral and make up for the overage of what was spent last year per statute.
Technology requirements for value-based care
Additionally, Doneski shared the technology requirements to watch as we embark on more value-based care programs. Important to note are the evolving health IT standards that providers must comply with, an increasing expectation that providers can exchange data electronically and the launch of an expanded health information exchange infrastructure known as TEFCA (Trusted Exchange Framework & Common Agreement). (35:44)
Doneski’s advice to the audience? “Technology is moving forward, and CMS is moving forward with technology,” she said.
Doneski noted that CMS is pushing for a digital quality measures system by 2025 that could eliminate much of the redundancy in quality data reporting and improve the value of the data. “Digital measures are coming,” she said. “If you’re not quite on board with being able to use technology and leverage all the features you have in these various health IT systems, you want to be looking at it now.”
Be sure to tune in to this in-depth, expert briefing from two Washington D.C. policy experts you cannot get anywhere else. Watch the full webinar here.
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